What is a Good Putting Round For You
How often do you complete a round feeling satisfied by your putting? Maybe you burned a few edges or recorded a pair of careless three-putts, all of which can be frustrating when adding up a score. However, when you think about it, even the best players make those same mistakes, so perhaps your putting isn't (relative to everyone else) as bad as you may believe.
Analysing 500,000 rounds submitted into the Golfshake Score Tracker, we can reveal how well golfers across various handicap categories perform on the greens, providing you with a degree of context from which to compare yourself.
Looking at the elite level, in 2021, the PGA Tour overall average putts-per-round is 29.05, with Australia's Cameron Smith leading the way at 27.74 ahead of Patrick Reed (27.85), Ian Poulter (27.96), and Jordan Spieth (28.16).
Clearly, this can be an unreliable statistic as the number of greens hit in regulation and proximity to the hole will affect the total of putts recorded during a round, but it's certainly a rough guide from which everyday golfers can assess themselves.
Intriguingly, there isn't a vast difference on paper between different handicaps. Those better players (handicaps 1-5) will average 32 putts per round, compared to 33 for handicaps 6-10, 34 for handicaps 11-15, 35 for handicaps 16-20, and 36 for handicaps 21-28.
But the context of greens hit must be added into the equation. Those low handicap golfers will hit 9-10 (55-5%) greens in regulation a round versus just 3 (17%) that will be hit by players with handicaps between 16 and 20. That's a considerable gap and helps to explain why the putts-per-round is only three shots of a difference between those groups.
On the PGA Tour in 2021, the greens in regulation average for the season is 65.05% for those elite players who will be taking on much longer and more challenging courses than most of us will ever likely face!
Key Stats By Handicap
Fairways In Regulation: 57%
Greens In Regulation: 52-55%
Putts Per Round: 32
Fairways In Regulation: 50%
Greens In Regulation: 37-39%
Putts Per Round: 33
Fairways In Regulation: 43%
Greens In Regulation: 25-27%
Putts Per Round: 34
Fairways In Regulation: 37%
Greens In Regulation: 17%
Putts Per Round: 35
Fairways In Regulation: 30%
Greens In Regulation: 10%
Putts Per Round: 36
Ultimately, a more effective route to improvement that better separates the various handicaps is counting three-putts. Previous research has found that higher handicap golfers will average one three-putt every four holes (20%) compared to just one a round for those lower mid-handicap players (with handicaps 10-14).
That's a considerable difference and underlines that reducing three-putts is an obtainable path for better scores and an improved handicap.
So, consider your own handicap and see where you stand relative to golfers of a similar ability, and compared to those at the level above. You may discover that your averages are better than you may have thought when measured against your peers. But if they're not, then head to the practice green and work on some tips from the Golfshake Tuition Section!
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